Barcelona missed the chance to move level on points with Real Madrid in LaLiga as the Catalans were shocked 2-0 by Malaga, with Neymar seeing red.
Neymar was sent off as Barcelona’s title hopes suffered a setback with a 2-0 defeat against Malaga in Saturday’s LaLiga encounter at La Rosaleda.
Luis Enrique’s men would have been levelled on points with Real Madrid with a win following a draw in the Madrid derby, but the Catalans endured an abysmal day at the job as they rather returned home empty-handed.
Barcelona had every reason to be confident heading into the encounter, having gone unbeaten at the Rosaleda in the league since 2003, but the scoreless draw from the reverse fixture was an indication that Malaga would not be a walk in the park.
Sandro dealt Barca chances of going top of the league a blow before the break when he made the most of the chances afforded him with some poor defending from Jeremy Mathieu.
And things went from bad to worse after the interval with a second booking for Neymar – his first red card in LaLiga – following a reckless foul on Diego Llorente near the corner flag.
Jony then added a second in stoppage time at the end of counter-attack as the champions chased a way back into the game that never materialised.
The result means Barcelona remain three points off the pace, while leaders Madrid still have a game in hand.
Barcelona were in charge right from the off and Luis Suarez came close to handing the Catalans the lead in the 16th minute. The Uruguay international did well to bring down Jordi Alba’s long ball after beating the offside trap, only to aim his shot straight at goalkeeper Carlos Kameni from inside the area.
Malaga slowly grew into the game from there on and went to win alongside some impressive defending.